Space Power

Article excerpt

SPACE POWER IS becoming an increasingly important aspect of national strength, but experts disagree about how best to develop its potential. Like airpower, space power relies heavily upon advanced technology, but technology is useless unless space professionals apply it properly. Air Force leaders recognize that the service needs to nurture a team of highly dedicated space professionals who are prepared to exploit advanced technologies and operating concepts. Today, space power provides supporting functions such as communications, reconnaissance, and signals from global positioning system (GPS) satellites-tomorrow, space may become the site of combat operations. Concern about the future direction of military activities in space has spurred debate over which technologies to produce and how best to develop space professionals. Moral, theoretical, and doctrinal questions also loom large. Underlying all of these considerations are political and diplomatic factors.

Morality poses unique challenges for space power. People have fought on land and at sea for millennia, but some see space as a pristine domain, unsullied by human conflict, and want to keep it that way. Others see space power as a critical, asymmetric military advantage ripe for exploitation by technologically advanced nations. The way political forces adjudicate this ethical issue will strongly influence the future military use of space.

Like airpower, space power lacks an overarching theory. Some professionals view theory as a type of Holy Grail; others take a more pragmatic approach. …